Trine 2: Calamitous Cooperation

Trine 2: Director’s Cut was an impulse purchase on the weekend I received my Wii U, and it quickly turned into a surprise hit with my two sisters. Since then I’ve been playing through the game with my friend Mark at intervals of a few months, and last week we finally finished it, over a year after I bought the game.

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I’d never even heard of Trine 2 when I first saw it on the Nintendo eShop, but the demo video looked great and, flush with the excitement of owning a new console, I decided to buy the game on the spot – a rare occasion of buying without reading the reviews first. Thankfully it turned out to be brilliant, and it’s one of those few and far between games that’s just as much fun to watch as it is to play. The gameplay centres around swapping between three characters – a knight, a wizard and a thief – and using their different abilities to solve puzzles and defeat goblins. The wizard is probably the most entertaining of the bunch, as he can produce mechanical boxes and planks out of thin air, as well as manipulate various bits of scenery with a wave of his hand. The knight, by contrast, has the sword-swinging abilities you’d expect, and the thief can grapple onto bits of scenery and fire arrows at enemies and targets. It all reminded me a bit of The Lost Vikings on the SNES, which featured three hairy dudes with pointy hats that had similarly varied abilities, but I’m surprised the mechanic hasn’t been used more often since the 16-bit days, as it works very well.

Probably the chief reason that I enjoyed Trine 2 so much was the unintentional hilarity of cooperating with Mark. Often this would involve one of us playing the wizard and building some sort of rickety tower in an attempt to reach the next section; meanwhile the other player would attempt to climb the tower, only for the wizard to unintentionally/deliberately cause some element of the death-trap tower to disappear, causing the knight/thief to plunge to their doom. With hilarious results.

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Honestly, I’ve never laughed so hard at my own ineptitude as I did during the fun-filled hours playing this game. I made a point of only playing it in co-op, as it’s easily twice as much fun when you’re attempting to bodge together some unorthodox solution with a friend compared with playing solo. And speaking of unorthodox solutions, I’m certain that some of the methods we came up with weren’t the ones that the designers intended, but the game has a wonderfully flexible system when it comes to puzzle solving, and it really encourages experimentation.

It’s not all great though. In particular, the controls feel a bit floaty, and the plot is hardly anything to write home about: frankly, neither of us gave two hoots about the princess we were trying to save. The game also provoked the occasional prolonged bout of swearing and controller abuse on my part, although this was usually down to my own incompetence or frustration at watching Mark try and fail to jump onto a platform for the nineteenth time. On occasion I may, may, have uttered the words “Look just give it here and let me do it”, like some sort of pushy dad. For this, I am ashamed.

But overall the fun far outweighed the frustration, and to top it all off the game looks stunning. Seriously, it even puts Rayman Legends to shame when it comes to beautiful 2D side scrollers, and apparently there’s an even more gorgeous PS4 version on the way. Overall it comes highly recommended, especially if you have a friend or two to play it with.

[Calamitously penned by Lucius Merriweather.]

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